More flood alerts in France as record rainfall hits country

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More flood alerts in France as record rainfall hits country
A flooded street in Le Doulac, near Saint-Omer, northern France. (Photo by Aurelien Morissard / POOL / AFP)

Northern and eastern France remain on high alert for floods after the latest in a series of Atlantic depressions sweeps record-breaking rainfall across the country.


The Alpine department of Haute-Savoie and the northern Pas-de-Calais are on the highest possible weather warning – red level, indicating a possible danger to life – in Météo-France’s early bulletin on Wednesday.

In the Alpine areas of Haute-Savoie and Savoie, Météo-France predicted a “serious episode in a period of significant mild weather” on Wednesday, and warned that a month’s worth of rain is expected before the current weather episode passes.

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Forecasters said that the Arve river is at risk of exceptional flooding – reported to be a once-in-a-century flood event – with the peak expected at some time in the morning. 

Numerous roads in the area have been closed because of the risk of landslides, subsidence, and rock falls.


Haute-Savoie departmental council President Martial Saddier told France Bleu: “There has been incredible amounts of snowfall for that time at altitude and we had extremely significant snowmelt. I have been here for 30 years and I have never seen this.”

In Étrembières, some 60 homes were under threat of flooding early this morning, according to reports from France Bleu. Residents were asked to remain on the first floor of their homes wherever possible. Another 30 residents in Reignier-Ésery were evacuated to a neighbouring hamlet, while 50 or so people were evacuated from a campsite in Sallanches on Tuesday evening as a precaution. And an industrial zone in Magland suffered “major damage” because of flooding.

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The northern Pas-de-Calais area, which has also been battered by heavy rain and storms in recent days, will be downgraded to an orange alert on Wednesday.

Another 10 departments are under orange flood alert: Nord, Doubs, Jura, Rhône, Ain, Isère, Savoie, Drôme, Charente-Maritime and Vendée.

Between October 18th and November 12th, an average of 215.4mm of rain fell across France, Météo-France revealed. The previous recorded cumulative rainfall record for a 26-day period was 196.9mm, recorded between September 21st and October 16th, 1993.

Experts said a "rail of depressions" from the Atlantic is the cause of the heavy rainfall that has affected large parts of the country, the forecaster said, as it warned of another rain episode towards the end of the week.


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